Local News Digest – Fire Prevention; Flu Shots; Hazardous Waste; Gas Prices

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It all started with Mrs. O’Leary’s Cow…

It happened 130-years ago this week, leaving 100-thousand people homeless, killing 250 people and destroying more than 17-thousand structures over two-thousand acres.  It was the Great Chicago Fire of October 8th and 9th, 1871.  That conflagration is also credited with spawning the modern fire prevention movement.

This week is National Fire Prevention Week and Governor Kitzhaber issued a proclamation observing it in Oregon.  State Fire Marshall Mark Wallace said in 2010 there were 2733 fires in one-and-two family homes resulting in 16 deaths, 172 injuries and more than $62-million in property loss.

Something as simple as a working smoke detector can make a huge difference.  Wallace said a quarter of those fires were in homes that had either an inoperable smoke detector, or no detector at all.  He urges all Oregonians to regularly check their detectors and make sure they have a home fire plan… especially if they have young children in the household.


Time for flu shots

A 61-year old Lincoln County woman is the first confirmed case of hospitalization for influenza in Oregon this year.  The Oregon Public Health Department says she has recovered, but the episode points out the need for immunization, especially for high-risk populations.  Dr. Paul Cieslak with the department says even healthy children and adults can get very sick with flu and spread it to others.

There is plenty of vaccine available.  Anyone over the age of six months should get a flu shot, but, adds Cieslak, especially pregnant women; people in long-term care facilities, the very young and anyone over the age of 50.  One other category that is very important:  people who live with, or care for, those at high risk for complications from the flu.


Household Hazardous Waste Roundup

Lane County and the City of Florence have teamed up once again to offer a household hazardous waste roundup in Western Lane County.  Friday between noon and five pm, then again Saturday from eight to two at the Florence Waste Transfer Site on Rhododendron Drive, residents can bring household quantities of lawn and garden chemicals, paint, household cleaners or other poisonous or corrosive chemicals.

Officials say they’ll accept up to 35-gallons total per person at no cost, but waste from businesses, schools, churches or non-profit groups may be subject to a disposal fee.


National gas prices down, local up

Average gas prices are down slightly across the state and the nation according to Triple-A.  But today’s survey shows average prices at the pump for regular unleaded in Florence has increased by two cents in the past week to $3.72 a gallon.  The national average has dropped to $3.40… down a penny from a week ago; and the Statewide price is down by three cents and is at $3.75.  Marie Dodds with Triple-A Oregon says retail prices in some markets of the country have edged up in the past few days.